The regional workshop is a culmination of activities that included, inter alia:
- a needs assessment in the participating OECS countries to establish their status and needs in data collection and analysis;
- the development and validation of the Strategic Plan for Agriculture and Rural Statistics (SPARS), which provides the long term direction for the improvement of agricultural and rural statistics in each country and a concrete plan of action with feasible options and assessment of resources required for the implementation of the Strategic Plan; and
- the development of modalities for including the agriculture module in the population and housing census to be conducted by countries utilizing the FAO practical guidelines.
Another key activity that preceded the workshop was the technical guidance provided by the FAO through a pilot test on the selection and application of appropriate sampling methods for the crop production surveys in two countries: Grenada and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
The objective of this workshop is therefore twofold:
To present the methodology used for the pilot test in Grenada and in St. Vincent and the Grenadines – this will take the form of a training course that will provide guidance on the selection and application of appropriate sampling methods in agricultural statistics. The course will focus on the process followed for the pilot test in Grenada and St. Vincent and the Grenadines; and
To discuss the sustainability of the outputs of the project and the overall importance of data and statistics in the agricultural sector. This component of the event will provide an opportunity for the Permanent Secretaries of agriculture, key decision makers, farmers and experts in the OECS to discuss and debate the challenges faced by agricultural data producers and data users of the region. The discussion will also include the implementation of the SPARS that was developed under the project.
The town hall will provide an opportunity for all stakeholders to share the results of the OECS needs assessment for enhancing capacities in statistical data collection and analysis and the Strategic Plan for Agriculture and Rural Statistics for discussion and debate. It will also be a forum to highlight the importance of data and information in decision making including in trade, food and nutrition, and security preferences.